The Over-Scheduling Myth

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Child Trends

The common perception that today’s youth are suffering due to unbearably busy schedules is a myth, this brief reports. The authors cite evidence that youth benefit in myriad ways from the extra hours they spend in structured out-of-school activities, and deconstruct three “propositions” on which the myth is based: that motivation for participation is external; that many youth participate excessively; and that well-being is threatened in the face of the other two propositions.

The authors find that only 3 percent to 6 percent of youth participate in activities for more than 20 hours per week. Of greater concern, they write, is that, “roughly 40 percent of children and youth do not participate in any organized out-of-school activity.” Free, four pages. (202) 572-6000,